“The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease” ― Voltaire (1694 – 1778).
Healthcare is synonymous with happiness. People cannot be healthy without being happy. Conversely, people cannot be happy without being healthy. However, being healthy is only one factor in the complex, multilayered human conditions that engender “true happiness” in people such as career, character, education, forgiveness, HEALTH, humility, personality, religion (spirituality), self-esteem, and socialization. The Ten Key Happiness Indicators (TKHI) underpin people’s achievements, attributes, and customs (https://www.gibbshappinessindex.com).
Physical health has been elevated to matters of human survival, more so than physical prowess as a sign of masculinity. A revolution in postmodern healthcare management is physical exercise, prescribed by medical practitioners as part of the healthcare regimen for their patients. Evidence of this revolution is the appearance of fitness centers within corporate buildings and strewn across the urban and rural landscapes. Medical practitioners encourage people to make lifestyle choices that enhance their health, peace, beauty, vitality, well-being, and happiness.
Here are five primary reasons why people are happy when they are healthy:
- People enjoy a more active lifestyle. People experience a longer and more fruitful life that benefits their relationship with family, friends, and associates.
- People engage in physical activities that imbue happiness such as riding a bicycle, dancing, jogging, or group activities such as hiking or playing soccer.
- People take on occupations that demand physical fitness such as a fitness instructor, a construction worker, or a firefighter.
- People are more likely to be better off financially. The financial burden that millions experience in meeting the cost of their healthcare needs can contribute to chronic unhappiness, especially for the elderly.
- People spend more money on the things that enable them to enjoy a more fruitful social life, like global travel to meet and enjoy the company of others. Money may not buy health, but it is a crucial factor in the health and happiness equation.
People of all ages and genders have yearly fitness center memberships. Many embrace a philosophy of “walk,” “jog,” “run,” as a value proposition for maintaining their physical health, which further translates to happier people. City planners and corporate executives call for bicycle lanes within inner cities to facilitate daily physical activities for some commuters. Corporate executives understand the economic benefits to their corporations when employees are healthy and happy. These benefits extend beyond social and economical to punctuality, personality, performance, and productivity.
Medical practitioner’s offices, public libraries, and the Internet are awash with medical brochures on common ailments, to help people to understand better, and manage their healthcare issues. Notwithstanding, some people neglect the warnings that medical practitioners issue regarding age-related routine check-ups, and thus cause incalculable harm to their bodies. Some others fail to exercise regularly; they may be sleep deprived, nutrition-deficient, or work excessively, pushing the limits of their mental and physical capabilities.
When people think of health, the absence of disease comes to mind, but health entails more than the nonexistence of the conditions that cause illness. Notwithstanding the absence of disease, a sudden illness can impair a person’s health and cause him or her, and their family members to become fearful, anxious, and unhappy with his or her medical condition. Moreover, people should applaud the medical scientists who understand and advise us about the magnitude of diseases that confront humankind, and fundamentally, two prevailing healthcare imperatives that can boost people’s health and happiness. They are “optimum” NUTRITION and NURTURING.
WHAT IS NUTRITION?
Nutrition is eating foods that provide an “optimum balance” of nutrients for adequate health and growth. Seven of these essential nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, minerals, vitamins, and fiber, in addition to air, water, and sunlight necessary to sustain people’s health and wellness. The physical environment plays a significant role in human health as a first imperative, but with every passing decade, scientists are detecting new compounds that are present in the air, water, and in food sources.
People are an integral biological component of the living and breathing universe. Even the living trees exchange matter with people. The challenge is to understand better the impact of invasive substances in the human body, the consequences to people’s health, and effective cures. The principal source of nutrition is wholesome foods that come to maturity on trees and in the ground (botanical) likewise from the sea. Foods provide live enzymes that are essential to the general maintenance of human health, but an important factor in food and health is the transportation and storage to maintain quality and taste, and best before date.
Moreover, nutritionists advise people to eat multiple servings of fruits and vegetables to help maintain optimum nutritional balance. They emphasize that these foods should come from organic sources, free from hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and other potentially harmful substances. The diminishing of fertile and productive farmlands have given way to factory farms that pose a challenge to the health goals of nutritionists. Fortunately, the wide variety of foods available to consumers provide ample choice to satisfy their nutritional needs.
Nutrition supports physical health, which complements spiritual and mental health through daily nurturing that people receive from positive relationships within marriage, the family, the community, and the corporations where people work. People can also take affirmative steps to help improve their physical health and happiness as follows:
- Get an annual physical check-up.
- Mitigate, avoid, or manage stressful situations.
- Strive for work-life balance.
- Strive for eight hours of sleep — nightly.
- Seek spiritual and mental nurturing.
- Exercise frequently (i.e., walk, jog, run, daily if practicable).
- Maintain a healthy diet rich in natural foods; maintain hydration.
- Research the family predisposition to illnesses.
- Take time out for a yearly vacation for fun, rest, and relaxation.
- Eat foods from the ground, the sea, and the tree.
The above ten healthcare criteria for health and happiness will enable people to counteract some of the challenges that postmodern lifestyles inflict on our bodies thus making some people unhealthy and unhappy. In addition to positive nutritional habits to sustain healthy bodies, there is a need for NURTURING to complement NUTRITION to create an overall healthy and happy environment for people to develop and flourish.
WHAT IS NURTURING?
Nurturing is the spiritual and mental stimulation such as companionship, prayer, and religious practices (love, peace, joy, hope, mercy, and forgiveness) that help to maintain our spiritual and psychological balance, which enables a physical balance. When people recognize the three essential components of our makeup, spirit, mind, and body, it begins the process of understanding the need for nurturing the whole person to achieve total health. Over the past decade, the interest in our tripartite nature has awakened the medical community to the need for spiritual and emotional healing as an adjunct to physical healing, health, and happiness.
Nurturing is no less critical for human survival than nutrition. People, especially children need nurturing throughout each stage of development. They need spiritual, emotional, educational, intellectual, psychological, and physical nurturing to develop and become stable and mature adults. Creating a nurturing environment influences behaviors, and better inform people’s understanding of the mental maladies that seem to afflict many in our postmodern world of unique social and economic challenges, job stress, and general stressful living.
Without such knowledge, people cannot attain their full growth and development, and to live out the true meaning and purpose of their existence as spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, and physical beings. People often claim that individuals have total control over their destiny, including their healthcare. Observable evidence shows that people are interdependent beings. We rely on each other for nurturing at various stages in life, from childhood to adulthood.
When people think of healthcare, they rarely comprehend the magnitude, complexity, and cost that it underpins. Deloitte: 2018 Global Healthcare outlook: Spending on health: Combined health care spending in the world’s major regions is expected to reach USD $8.7 trillion by 2020, up from USD $7 trillion in 2015. These costs are also a reflection of a breakdown in society from medical health and mental health perspectives that inadvertently affect people’s well-being and happiness.
The more significant concern of healthcare professionals is the growing cost of healthcare. The fact that healthcare budgets are at the top or near the top of the national budget of countries such as Austria, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States, is evidence of the desire by world leaders to help maintain their respective nation’s Health Index. For instance, by 2040, the global spending on health will rise to $18.28 trillion, as stated by university researchers in the United States.
Some healthcare costs are attributable to naturally occurring diseases with some expenditures attributed to the gene pools within families. Unfortunately, some people neglect the advice by health professionals in favor of a “fast food” lifestyle to support people’s mobility. What can nations do? Nations could enlist their citizens in a “war” against rising expenditures in managing lifestyle illnesses. They can begin to mobilize better eating habits at kindergarten, through high schools, universities, corporations, and private and public organizations and institutions. Nations could also broaden the perspectives on healthcare understanding to include a critical life-supporting global healthcare and happiness ecosystem.
Writers, Errol A. and Marjorie G. Gibbs are avid readers, inspired researchers, speakers, and mentors. Their journey, which began with their “search for happiness,” led along paths to Optimum Happiness (OH). OH is a “higher value proposition” for human survival as a viable species than our typical notion of happiness. These same paths await on your “journey of discovery.”